The IT economy may be on a slippery slope south but Bill 'Microsoft' Gates has managed to hold on to his position as the richest man in the world, according to a survey by accountancy firm Forbes.

Gates ranks as number one in The Forbes Rich List, which recorded 538 billionaires worldwide, each worth an average of £2.267bn.

Despite a seven percent drop in Gates' fortune from last year, he still managed to clock up a total worth of $58.7bn. This is in stark contrast to his software company's total value, which dropped by 30 percent from last year.

Also in the top three are Warren Buffet ($32.3bn), an investment banker and Bill Gate's friend and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen ($304bn).

The only British person in the top 100 is the Duke of Westminster worth an estimated £4bn, made up primarily of land ownership.

For a more humorous look at Bill Gates, and for a daily 'clock' of Bill Gates' net worth, see the site of Philip Greenspun, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's web-famous lecturer and part-time humorist.

Do not, however, click on the link for The Secret Diary of Bill Gates, as the link has been hijacked by a less-than-decent website.

PC Advisor takes no responsibility for Greenspun's views, which do not represent PC Advisor, its views or the views of IDG Communications.